The Ruskin Senior Center celebrated their accreditation at the end of May.

The Ruskin Senior Center earned its blue ribbon after becoming an accredited center by the Department of Aging Services.

The center began the accreditation process right before the coronavirus pandemic, but the nationwide shutdown delayed its review until this year.

The accreditation process consists of a nine-part self-assessment evaluation to determine if the facility meets the nine standards of excellence. The nine standards range from management abilities to programming for seniors. Following the self-assessment, the senior center undergoes a peer-review.

“National senior center accreditation is a big, big deal for any senior center because it means that the senior center has gone through a process … and has met the national standards that were developed by the National Institute of Senior Centers, who is with the National Council of Aging,” said general manager of Hillsborough County’s Department of Aging Services Frances Duran Brea.

The center received the accreditation in February, but it waited until May 23 to celebrate the accomplishment because May is Older Americans Month. The celebration included food, music and dancing for the attendees.

The Ruskin Senior Center is home to 40 seniors who are daily, active participants, but around 100 are enrolled in their programs.

“You’re looking at what kinds of programs the senior center offers, making sure there is a good balance of programs and services that are offered that are holistic and meet the needs of the seniors from head to toe. We follow the nationally recognized seven dimensions of wellness,” explained Brea about how they have met the programming standard.

The programs offered at the Ruskin Senior Center are created based on the wants of their seniors and the community. These programs cater to every senior, from those with a very active lifestyle to those who are homebound. Brea and the two employees that work at the center regularly evaluate the programs and update them as they see fit.

“It’s also an opportunity to improve the quality of the programs that they provide and the services and operations at the center during this process,” said Brea.

For more information on the Ruskin Senior Center, call the Department of Aging Services customer care line at 813-272-5250.

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Lily Belcher
Lily Belcher is a writer for the Osprey Observer. She started as an intern in the summer of 2020 and has continued to write for the Osprey Observer since completing her internship. Lily is majoring in mass communications at the University of South Florida and is a staff writer for the university’s paper, The Oracle. She enjoys writing about local nonprofit organizations and community role models who have made an impact on her hometown.